From the book: The best BtoB word of mouth techniques

This week we’re taking a look at BtoB word of mouth marketing inspired by the new chapter in the revised edition of Andy Sernovitz’ best-seller, Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking.

The best BtoB word of mouth marketing techniques are all fairly simple and inexpensive (like most word of mouth). Look at the marketing you’re already doing and think of it in terms of the big question: How can I make it easier for people to share?

  1. White papers and research. People love to share articles and data. They get quoted, copied, and forwarded to everyone in the office. When you publish stuff like this, make sure it’s sharable. Get rid of the complicated form that people need to fill out to download the paper. It just stops the sharing. (Your salespeople will grumble, but you’re trading a few weak leads for widespread word of mouth that attracts better leads.) Even better, replace your fancy PDF with a Word document that can be easily pasted into blogs and newsletters.
  2. Testimonials. Ask for them everywhere. You should be able to get a positive quote from 90 percent of your customers (except for the few that have a corporate policy against giving them). Display them everywhere. Include testimonials on your home page and in all of your printed sales materials.
  3. Email newsletters. Email newsletters are special — they are the only kind of advertising that people ask for. And they are the single most forwardable word of mouth tool. Create an email newsletter for each of your talker groups, and put the sign-up form on your home page. Even if only a few people sign up, those people are your talkers who are eager for new stuff to talk about.
  4. Customer referral programs. Create a formal program to get existing customers to spread word of mouth to new prospects. Collect testimonials, create video interviews, write case studies, and talk about them on your blog. The secret to making this work is making these talkers feel important. The more you make them look like stars, the more they will talk about you.
  5. Live meetings. Get your fans together any way you can. Every time they meet each other and meet your team, it increases enthusiasm and gets people talking. It doesn’t need to be a formal user conference or a big annual meeting (but those do work well). Have a quarterly barbecue at the office. Invite 20 customers to dinner every time you travel. Even better, have every employee host a dinner every time they travel. You can meet 1,000 customers a year this way, and create 1,000 happy talkers.

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